Dear ___________,

Dear ___________,

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Because you’ll think this is about you.

And it is.
And it isn’t.

It’s about the guy that can’t figure himself out, or what he wants. The guy trying to get over his sorrows with sex, and use it as a symbol of triumph. The one who can’t convey his emotions and when he does, gives too much to view. The one who runs away when he realizes this. The guy who realizes the destruction he caused too late, and gives up on trying to regain his stance. The guy who doesn’t want to invest in another person. The one who’s heart is constantly broken. The guy who uses friendship as an excuse. The one that blames you.
The guy who tells you he’ll show up, and then doesn’t.

Says: “Stay by your phone”
But doesn’t answer your texts.

You wait around for your moment to be in his spot light, fifteen seconds of fame. At first you discuss your day, your life, playing catch up. Yet somewhere in there you lose your words, statements into questions and suddenly you’re silently nodding to his stories. You’ve connected the dots between his friends, learned their nicknames and followed their careers. He still questions who's in the photos on your wall.

Your friends ask how he’s doing, how you're doing. You used to know how he was, where he was… but maybe that’s because he always asked you first? Some sort of control to the situation I suppose, their own way of holding onto the small bit they have of you. Location services, shared Facebook destinations, geo-tags on Instagram, the “find my friends” app. Questioning your day as per his level of interest. Just another Tuesday warrants no effort. Out of town for the weekend? His own self-conscious behavior becomes erratic and obnoxious. But the sadist in him gets off on knowing he’s the topic of conversation. "So, what do your friends think of me being in your life?" Random pop ins to remind you he’s around, strut about like the taste of your lips don’t linger on his. Smells for your perfume like fresh cut grass. If eyes could focus like microscopes, he’d know details even you couldn’t identify.

There used to be confidence in your friendship, the kind of confidence that leaves you unworried about a flat tire or a mouse loose in your apartment. He’d fix it. Your inside jokes are the ones he’s forced upon you. TV shows he’s asked you to tune into and suddenly that’s all the conversation. I don't even like rom-coms... But you watch, slowly investing yourself into the little things he calls home. His favorite foods, movies, books. Grocery shopping reminds you of him, he hates tomatoes.

Someone once said, "We build our homes in the hearts of others, and when they leave, we are left homeless..." Cold and open to the elements, how do you protect yourself? How are you supposed to go on with your everything being carted away by someone who doesn’t appreciate its value?
Contents: FRAGILE

You know no pain until you are the finest china in the cabinet; freshly polished and ready to be set. But a paper plate stands stiff in his hands, the dish of choice. More disposable than you, weaker and not as proper... but just as good in his eyes. Worth the repetitive investment of eventual trash.

You’ll coach your friends on the strength you’ve endured by developing meaningful relationships with people who leave you feeling meaningless.

How do you come back from that?
You’ll answer “barely”.

You’ll find peace in your novels, texts from your mom, long naps on crisp days. You’ll sleep like shit during the night and drink coffee you don’t finish during the day. You’ll ignore your phone, lose it almost always. No one’s texting you anyway. It goes off, and your reaction is always aggravation. Not for the bother, but for who it’s not.

You’ve replaced his name with pronouns and seek avoidance of his person. He’ll eventually become just another ghost to you, pictures to be pushed further on the timeline. You’ve done this before, this is just practice. This time you give yourself a B- (mainly because you’re angry and an A+ means minimal feelings and an incredible rebound time frame.)

What women don’t say is that the reason we keep your hoodies is because it’s cold out here, without a roof of comfort and support. We want to meet your parents because they show us how it’ll end. Fifty percent in divorce they say, did he just snap at your mom? We don’t want to fix you, we want you to fix yourself. We want you to want that for you. Truth is, we hate DIY projects. They take longer than they say, they’re only good for a season and eventually you’ll have to throw them out when they clutter up the place. More work than it's worth.

What we do say, is perfection. What we mean is work in progress. An SAT booklet, half filled out. Notations on the side. Pencil shoved in the binding, bent corners. Constantly revisited for practice. We don’t need the dream, we just need the reality.

And the reality is the guy isn’t perfect. He’s flawed and fucked up. Or so he thinks. Thinks the damage is irreparable. But the damaged ideals he shoves down his throat are forceful. Thinks an ex-girlfriend defines him. Like he’ll never wash off the stain she left on his skin. But he’s scrubbed so hard it’s raw and bloody, and he’s calling himself sick because he’s in pain. But the damage is all him. Like sliced wrists and bloody hands, self inflicted.

They are all works in progress, men that is. Still finding out that what they need isn’t necessarily a “woman”, but a person. A self-respecting, constant in their day to day life. Someone who not only always answers the phone, but calls just as much. Maybe a little more. Chicken soup and quiet offers of support via sexual affections. Sly smiles in response to masochist remarks. Questions that go unanswered and ignored phone calls on “guys night”. They want to know we give a shit, give more than them, because the idea of caring for someone more than they do for you, will destroy them.
It’ll destroy anyone.

But we do it… over and over again. Expecting the next time will be different as if that’s not the definition of insanity. But it technically isn’t. Because somewhere between mistake number 38 and 92, someone will give it right back to us as we have given all our everything so many times before. And we will think once more, they are worth dying for.

My mother once told me, "you need to fall in love with a man that loves you more than you love them." It’s painful and true, mainly because you can’t quite fathom loving someone half assed. And yet, that is all you’ve experienced, half effort and subpar “love” or what you may think it is.

And I’m still not sure what love is, or what it stands for. But I know what it’s not. It’s not breaking my back to save your wallet, it’s not hidden relationships and begged-for trust. It is not my death for your survival and it is not my pain for your pleasure.

For the guy that walks away from you for his own unrealistic ideals of a woman. The guy who criticizes your every move, outfit, eyelash. The guy who lies to defend his selfish actions. The one too afraid to pursue his own feelings in fear of his fame. The one that doesn’t pick you. The one that doesn’t deserve you. The one that hurts you, cries to you, begs you to stay, and then… disappears. The one too “fucked up” to see his future. The one who left you at the altar and the one who sat in the front row and watched. The one with the excuses. The one who inspired this.


This is about you.
Or maybe not.

Cover Image Credit: Kingdom Entrepreneurship University

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Why I Write For Odyssey

I love Odyssey for so many reasons and here is why I stay

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I started writing for Odyssey at my old school back in the way beginning of Spring 2018. It's been a little over a year of love and support and I wouldn't change that for anything. I applied to write for Odyssey way back when because I've always had a passion for writing and getting my voice out there.

Odyssey, you've given me so many opportunities and blessings that I can't thank you enough for. A while back I wrote an article that hit over 5,000 views and because of that thoughtcatalog contacted me asking me to write for them. For those of you that don't know about thoughtcatalog, it's a website that has over 25 million visitors monthly. Therefore, my writing was getting even more recognition than I ever thought imaginable, and that's all thanks to Odyssey and the amazing editors and presidents I've had.

When I started writing for FGCU odyssey, I got so much support from my team outmost importantly my president. It was such a welcoming environment where for the first time I knew my voice was being heard and welcomed. Then, I switched over to USF odyssey and I got that same loving and welcoming environment.

Odyssey has given me a platform to not only reach others but to also vent. If we're being honest, a lot of my articles are basically about me talking about my problems or problems I see with certain things in todays world. So, thank you Odyssey for being my therapist most days.

One of the best feelings in the world is when people reach out to me privately about how one of my articles helped them get through something or let them know that they're not alone. I absolutely love that. It's such a beautiful gift to be able to help others through writing. Without odyssey I wouldn't have ever gotten to know that feeling.

The encouragement that I got from people who have read my work on Odyssey has inspired me to continue my writing throughout my life by writing books. No, I'm not writing books with the intent of them getting published but rather for my own personal enjoyment. I've always wanted to write books and stories but have never had the confidence in my writing like I do now. Thank you Odyssey for everything you've done for me and continue to do for me.

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